Three New Zealanders have now been confirmed dead and another is missing, presumed dead.

New Zealand diplomatic staff have concerns for a further two Kiwis who were staying at the Taufua Resort in Lalomanu when the tsunami hit on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is still looking for 239 New Zealanders believed to have been in Samoa at the time of the tsunami. The Ministry has made contact with 619, 20 of whom have been hospitalised.

There are plans to evacuate some of the worst cases by Air Force plane, a spokesman from Mfat said.

Meanwhile a fresh earthquake has rattled the region around the Samoan islands.

The US Geological Service reported a 6.3 magnitude quake at a depth of 10km off Tonga. There were no immediate reports of damage.

A two-year-old Auckland boy has been confirmed as one of the three New Zealanders killed.

The toddler was swept out to sea as he was playing on the beach with his parents at Lalomanu when the 6m wave came ashore on Wednesday.

His parents swam to safety.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was providing support to the parents.

They were taken to hospital yesterday with minor injuries and later discharged and are staying at the New Zealand High Commission in Samoa.

The husband and wife, originally from Britain, now live in Auckland. The family was holidaying at a resort near the village of Lalomanu. Tsunami warnings were given and they were trying to escape to higher ground when the waves struck.

Raglan's Mary Ann White, 55, is the only New Zealander who died to be named so far. Another New Zealander is missing.

Mfat said it was unable to release more information about the other New Zealanders killed without permission from their families.

Meanwhile Members of Parliament are working alongside members of the public as a huge international relief effort gets under way in Samoa and Tonga.

Acting Prime Minister Bill English today said New Zealand was ready to assist Tonga but is yet to receive a request for aid in dealing with the tsunami disaster.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Mr English said Tonga would get part of the $1 million initial allocation of money to deal with the aftermath, but was "reasonably self-sufficient" in recovering from the disaster.

New Zealand, which had air force Orion and Hercules aircraft in the islands yesterday, is sending two more military aircraft today.

An air force Boeing 757 is carrying medical evacuation and search and rescue teams, while a Hercules will carry a light operational vehicle and a desalination plant to ensure fresh water supplies.

Mr English said Foreign Minister Murray McCully would be on one of the flights and would talk directly to Samoan government officials about what further aid was needed.

Prime Minister John Key, who is returning early from a holiday in the US, will fly to Samoa tomorrow.

The unofficial death toll from Wednesday's devastating earthquake and series of tsunamis stands at more than 150. Many of those killed were elderly people or children too weak or slow to run for the hills.

Two New Zealanders have died and one is missing, presumed dead.

Nineteen Kiwis have been injured in Samoa and some have been hospitalised, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Walls shook and objects smashed when the 8.3 earthquake struck off the coast of American Samoa at 6.48am on Wednesday.

It lasted for about a minute and islanders watched as waves broke beyond the reef, heralding the approach of a tsunami, which struck about 10 minutes later.

Witnesses reported a wall of water up to 9m high after the quake. Waves pounded the shore for the next 20 minutes, wiping out whole villages.

Samoan PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he was shocked beyond belief by the devastation.

The lucky ones made it to high ground, others held on for their lives, and some had loved ones wrenched from their arms. One mother watched as her three children were swept away.
An estimated 3000 people are homeless and seeking refuge in shelters set up around the worst-affected villages.

Most of the 20 villages on the southern side of the main Samoan island of Upolu have been levelled.

Two of Upolu's most popular resorts, Sinalei Reef Resort and Coconuts Beach Resort, were hit hard.

Joe Annandale, owner of Sinalei and regional mayor of the ravaged south coast, lost his wife Tui. Her body was found washed up in a tree after she tried to help some children.

At least 34 were reported dead in American Samoa yesterday. Nine were confirmed dead in Tonga and the toll was expected to rise.

People concerned about loved ones in Samoa can call 0800 432 111. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also asking those that have heard from family members to also call in case they are still believed to be missing.

- Rachel Tiffen with NZPA, NZHERALD STAFF